2 Samuel 13:1-39
What a tragic story this is. Not only do rape and murder take place, but it all takes place within the same family.
Amnon is obsessed with his half-sister Tamar, who is the full sister of Absalom – she’s extremely beautiful. Amnon is so obsessed over Tamar that he’s losing weight over it. His “friend” Jonadab notices and asks, “What’s going on? Why are you losing weight?”
2 Samuel 13:4b (NKJV) “Amnon said to him, ‘I love my sister Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.’”
It doesn’t take long for us to clearly see that Amnon didn’t love her. This young man didn’t have a clue what true love is, to put another person BEFORE yourself, to seek their highest good. Amnon merely lusted after Tamar, but love is self-less not selfish.
Jonadab (who the Bible says was a very crafty man) had an attitude that said the king’s son had the right to get whatever he wanted. That combination of entitlement and craftiness becomes a dark and dangerous mixture. Jonadab basically gives Amnon step-by-step instructions on how to rape his sister…which he does, and then immediately afterwards, he sends her away. How could this possibly happen? It’s complicated, but one thing’s for sure, you can’t trust lust. We read those horrible words in:
2 Samuel 13:15 (NKJV) “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Arise, be gone!’”
Tamar tore her beautiful robe, put ashes on her head, and mourned the way she had been shamed and abused. Her father, King David was angry (2 Samuel 13:21), but that was about it. Like Eli, he may have yelled, ranted, and raved, but he didn’t appear to do anything about it (1 Samuel 2:22-25). His daughter had been raped by his son, and justice was not served in the least. More than likely David felt he couldn’t do anything about it due to his own moral failures (another consequence of his sins).
Two years pass, you might think that everyone has forgotten all about it by now, but all along things have been brewing in the heart of Tamar’s brother, Absalom. He has a feast invites, his brother who has now let his guard down, no doubt Abasalam has put on a good show – that he understood, that he was good with it, you know how guys can be. But Absalom then murders his brother Amnon for raping his sister (isn’t that what the Bible says was supposed to take place?). Of course we know that vengeance is God’s and we can’t justify the behavior of Absalom, but from a human perspective you almost can’t blame him. If only David would have done the right thing as king, and father…all this could very well have possibly been avoided.
It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
After the murder, Absalaom flees to Geshur for 3 years…but David’s problems with Absalom are not over, they’re only just beginning.
John 17 is what I would refer to as the “Lord’s Prayer.” What traditionally has been called the “Our Father” found in Luke 11:2-4, I would describe as the “Model Prayer.” John 17 is Jesus pouring out His heart to His Father, and what a blessing it is for us to get a glimpse into this glorious and intimate prayer of Christ.
I’ve always thought it was interesting that Jesus prayed first for Himself. Now, that doesn’t mean He put Himself before others, because His whole life of love and death says otherwise, but He shows us it’s okay to pray for ourselves. Sometimes people feel guilty when they pray for themselves at all, much less first, but since we know our own struggles and turmoil, it’s good that we are to take it to our Father.
If Jesus were not God, He could never pray for the Father to glorify Him, but He does so numerous times. With this glory and fame, as the Father lifts up the Name of Jesus, many would be given eternal life, which according to John 17:3, is not about space or time, but about a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14 mentions all three members of the Godhead).
Warren Wiersbe summarizes the prayer well, “The prayer reveals our Lord’s spiritual priorities: glorifying the Father (v. 1), the unity of the church (vv. 21–23), the sanctity of the church (v. 17), and the winning of a lost world (vv. 18–19). Are these priorities in your life?”
After praying for Himself, Jesus prays for His Disciples. They had been given to Jesus, they had kept God’s Word, they knew that Jesus was sent by the Father, so He asks His Father to “keep” them. The Greek word translated “keep” means to, “attend to carefully.” It was a prayer for protection. Jesus also prays for His disciples to be held together in unity, that they may be one, even as the Father and the Son were one. While Jesus was in the world He had kept them and the only one lost was Judas, which brings up an interesting point, that although God guides and guards us, He’s not a Father who forces. We are free, to choose whether or not we will follow Jesus, we are not robots or any form of preprogrammed people.
We learn much from the prayer of our Lord. His prayer for the disciples undoubtedly expresses His heart for all His people, for joy (John 17:13). His prayer for us to be IN the world, but not OF the world. His prayer that we’d be delivered from the devil (John 17:15). His prayer that we’d be sanctified – something that happens though the power of His Word (John 17:17). It’s fascinating to see that they had been sent, and how we have been sent, just as Jesus was sent (see also John 20:21).
The Lord went on to pray similar things for all future believers, which would include you and me (John 17:20-26). He places an emphasis on unity. When stay together and maintain that unity, when we refuse all drops of division in spite of our flaws and differences – in one sense it’s our opportunity to answer Jesus’ prayer request.
Jesus also prayed for the day to come when we’d all be with Him…together in that everlasting land of love (John 17:26). What a beautiful prayer Jesus prayed and how privileged we are to be able to get a glimpse of it.
In his final days, the Scottish Reformer John Knox had this prayer read to him daily. We would be blessed to ponder it often. I’ve noticed over the years that usually the best way to get to know a person, is to listen to their prayers.
The Word of God is a living Word (Hebrews 4:12) and it is a working Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is by God’s Word we are saved and sanctified, and hence, Psalm 119 is no exaggeration whatsoever. Notice the many blessings and benefits of the Word.
The Word brings hope, the Word brings comfort, the Word is faithful, the Word bring revival, the Word of God is forever – settled in heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus said:
Matthew 24:35 (NKJV) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
The Word brings life, the Word is perfect, the Word is even exceedingly broad (it covers all we need to know).
The Word should therefore be searched to the point of making my eyes fail, it should be remembered, it should not be forsaken, it should be our delight, it should be sought and considered every day of our lives (Psalm 1; Matthew 6:11).
V. 6 – Mercy and truth are both beautiful words. We read in:
Psalm 85:10 (NKJV) “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.” (crossed paths)
How can we honestly, righteously, truthfully be forgiven? Placing our faith in Christ! It is through Jesus we have atonement.
This should lead us to a healthy reverence, awe, and fear of the Lord. If we’re cleansed from evil, and able to be kept from evil, doesn’t it make sense that we should depart from evil?
V. 7 – This is a general principle – not an absolute precept.
Sometimes God will give us favor – with even our foes.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.